Uncompensated care makes hospitals vulnerable

From the Clarion-Ledger:

Last year, the Mississippi Business Journal looked at the prospects for Mississippi local hospitals in the changing national and state health care policy environment. MHA’s Center for Rural Health director Mendal Kemp told the publication:

“The payer mix dictates how you are doing financially. Some of the small rural hospitals particularly depend heavily on Medicare and Medicaid. They have no private commercial insurance patients to speak of. That is why the (federal reimbursement) cuts are doubly bad for the small rural hospitals. Those are the ones at the greatest risk of closure.”


New study reveals economic burden of emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury

From News-Medical:

A new study that looked at nearly 134,000 emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury, including concussion, during a one year period in Ontario estimated that those visits had a total cost of $945 million over the lifetimes of those patients.

Medical treatments accounted for $292 million (31 per cent) of the estimated lifetime costs, and lost productivity amounted to $653 million (69 per cent), according to the report, published online in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Science.

Policy makers are increasingly using cost-of-illness studies such as this one to guide resource allocation and identify opportunities for improving health-care sustainability, said Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital and a senior author of the study.

Lacking E.M.T.s, an Aging Maine Turns to Immigrants

From the NY Times:

Jolly Ntirumenyerwa ran her fingers over the stethoscope that she had slung around her neck. It was a comforting connection to her career as a physician in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she worked in emergency medicine.

Her credentials did not transfer when she moved to the United States in 2012, and she could not work as a doctor. So, she took jobs as a health aide in an assisted living facility.

Now, thanks to an unusual program that is training immigrants to become emergency medical technicians, she is preparing to make better use of her medical background and, she hopes, work her way up to becoming a physician assistant if not, someday, a doctor.


Tele-behavioral health care reaches rural residents

From NACO:

Under a joint powers agreement, Carlton, Cook, Lake, Koochiching and St. Louis counties — collectively as the Arrowhead Health Alliance — worked with state agencies to create the Arrowhead Telepresence Coalition (ATC). County commissioners comprise the joint powers board. It provides behavioral health care through remote diagnosis and treatment of patients using internet video and audio.

The largely rural Arrowhead region makes up 23 percent of the state’s land but only 6 percent of its population. “So what we needed to do early on was to find more innovative ways to deliver services,” said Dave Lee, a psychologist and director of Carlton County Public Health and Human Services. The region takes its moniker from its pointed shape on the map, wedged between Canada and Lake Superior. Duluth is its most populous city.

Rural Minnesota faces a critical shortage of mental health providers; seven counties in the Arrowhead region have been designated as mental health professional shortage areas, according to ATC.

“In taking the lead for the region,” Lee said, “I didn’t see any other way to start to solve some of these access problems without having tele-mental health capabilities.” Carlton county did a successful “mini-pilot” before the initiative launched regionwide.

Five states with the most rural hospital closures

From Becker’s:

Of the 25 states that have seen at least one rural hospital close since 2010, those with the most closures are in the South, according to research from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

For its analysis, the NCRHRP defined a hospital closure as the cessation in the provision of inpatient services. As of March 27, all of the facilities listed below no longer provided inpatient care. However, some of them still offered other services, including outpatient care, imaging, urgent care or rehabilitation services.

Since 2010, 78 rural hospitals have closed. Here are the five states with the most rural hospital closures since 2010, according to the analysis.

10 best and worst states for physicians (Iowa is #1)

From Becker’s:

Most of the worst states for physicians are in the Northeast, according to an analysis by WalletHub.

To identify the best and worst states for physicians, WalletHub analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 14 metrics, such as average annual wage of physicians, physicians per capita and insured population rate.

Here are the 10 best states for physicians, based on the analysis.

1. Iowa

2. Minnesota

3. Idaho

4. Wisconsin

Most states don’t require AED’s in schools

From Reuters:

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are used to restart hearts after cardiac arrest and restore normal heartbeats, but a new study found only about one-third of U.S. states require schools to have the life-saving devices.

Those requirements vary by state, said the study’s lead author. For example, one state may require AEDs to be installed in all schools while another only requires the devices to be in public schools.

“There are very few states that require both public and private schools to have them,” said Dr. Mark Sherrid, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.